Policy last updated
15 June 2020
For specific information about COVID-19 refer to the COVID-19 — School Operations Advice on PAL, which brings together key operational information for schools. Schools can also refer to the COVID-19 on the department's website for information and updates.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all physical education classes and sporting activities are conducted safely.
- Principals and teachers must ensure that all Physical Education and Sport is conducted safely by following the specific requirements outlined in this policy for:
- sports activities
- the environments that they are undertaken in, and
- the associated equipment.
- All teachers conducting Physical Education and Sport must have first aid training.
- All items of equipment — such as basketball rings and soccer goals, are safe, regularly inspected, repaired and maintained in accordance with the Workplace Inspections Policy and Procedure.
Training, qualifications and activity specific requirements
All teachers conducting Physical Education and Sport must have their First Aid training in accordance with the First Aid for Students and Staff Policy and Guidance.
Principals and teachers must adhere to the activity and equipment-specific precautions listed below.
All items of equipment – such as basketball rings and soccer goals, are:
- regularly inspected
It is recommended that specialist activities — such as:
- martial arts
- high jump
are conducted by a teacher or professional with a qualification with the relevant coaching authority.
In lieu of the recommended qualification, it is expected that those teachers or professionals have extensive experience in the instruction of that activity.
Activity and equipment — precautionary safety measures and requirements
Teachers and instructors must be either qualified or experienced in high jump instruction.
Schools are not permitted to use triangular aluminium bars.
Foam or round fibreglass bars are permitted.
Block crash mats must be used for the student to land on. Mat thickness will depend on the weight of the jumper, the height being attempted and the surface underneath.
The block crash mat should be surrounded by gym mats.
The Fosbury Flop may only be used when a the teacher or instructor is experienced in this technique and the students have developed the necessary preliminary skills to the run up, take off, flight and landing phases of the jump.
When a hard ball is used:
- Male students must wear a genital protector (box)
- Catchers must wear:
- a body protector
- shin protectors
- face mask/cage
- throat protector
- Batters must wear a double eared helmet for the entire time they are batting and running
- Wicket keepers must wear a helmet and face mask
Use of bats
Students must not be permitted to throw the bat after hitting the ball.
Students on the sideline
Students must be kept well away from bases and base lines.
Basketball backboards — safety markings
Schools must ensure that appropriate safety warnings are permanently marked on new and existing backboards.
The safety marking: ‘Warning: Swinging on the ring may cause serious injury or death’ — must be:
- clearly legible
- in upper case, and
- in characters not less than 10mm in height
Suppliers of basketball rings and backboards are required to place large labels warning about the dangers of improper use or installation of their products. It is illegal in Victoria for basketball/netball rings (stationary or portable) and backboards that do not comply with these regulations to be supplied.
If required new stickers are available to be purchased.
For further information contact the Department's Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Service on:
For information on safety warning requirements, see: Consumer Goods (Basketball Rings and Backboards) Safety Standard 2017 .
Basketball towers and netball rings
- Principals must ensure that basketball towers, backboards and rings are inspected in accordance with the Workplace Inspection Policy and Procedure.
- Details of inspections and maintenance need to be recorded and retained at the school. Refer to the OHS Management System (OHSMS) Overview for relevant checklist.
All activities must be planned according to the student’s age and ability
All activities require adequate preparation and instruction to ensure students are physically ready to perform skills including:
- appropriate lead up
- prerequisite developmental skill progressions and drills
Gymnastics advises that for schools the following activities are recommended:
- basic tumbling
- hand apparatus
- circuits — fitness and skill development
- group performances
- non-inverted vaulting activities
Not recommended activities
Gymnastics Victoria advises that for schools the following activities are not recommended:
- hock swings
- neck rotations
- sideways landings from a height
- excessive deep knee bends
- inverted spring activities
- excessive weight-bearing on wrists
All gymnastic equipment and apparatus used:
- must be suitable for the requirements of the activity and the age and ability of the students
- must be safely set up and prepared appropriately for the activity for which it is being used
- should include:
- safe matting around all equipment at all times
- crash mats (where the program activities require them) and floor mats to the side and behind the crash mat area
- a suitable cover over the springs of a mini-trampoline
All playing surfaces must be:
- smooth and flat
- free of obstructions and loose objects
Concrete and bitumen must not be used for Futsal games.
- a venue with multiple courts must be divided into playing areas by nets
- nets must only hang to floor level with no excess netting
- the space between the walls and the boundary must be at least 1 metre.
- walls are not permitted to be used as boundaries.
- the immediate surrounding area must have a space free of obstacles including:
- roof supports or poles
- All goal structures must be checked for stability prior to each game. If they are unstable, they must be attached to floor or wall.
- It is recommended that
- goals are made from light weight material enabling easy transportation to reduce risk of injury.
- nets are used.
Spectators, reserves players and / or officials
- All non-playing personnel must be positioned at a safe distance from the field of play.
Students must be made aware of the rules regarding dangerous play such as no slide tackling, tackling from behind, shoulder charging, tripping or playing of the play and not the ball.
For more information, see: Futsal on Futsal Oz's website.
Interschool sport must be organised as an excursion and must be approved by the principal.
If a small group of students represent the school at a sporting event:
- the principal should arrange for a teacher to accompany and supervise the students
- the supervising teacher must be at the venue to supervise the students as they arrive
If arrangements cannot be made for a staff member to accompany the students the excursion cannot go ahead as an official school activity and parents / carers may make private arrangements to take their children to the event and supervise them while they are in attendance.
Schools must ensure that martial arts is delivered by an qualified instructor who is accredited with:
- National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) or such other Accreditation Programs administered by the Australian Sports Commission recognised National Sporting Organisations (NSO's), or
- National Martial Arts Instructors Accreditation Scheme (NMAS), administered by the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA)
The instructor must also carry public liability and hold professional indemnity insurance.
For further information contact Martial Arts Industry
Principals and teachers must advise parents and students of the benefits of mouthguards and take reasonable steps to ensure that students wear them when involved in physical activities, particularly when competing in contact sports such as football (all codes), basketball, hockey, lacrosse, martial arts.
Further information about mouthguards is available in the Resources tab.
Moving portable soccer goals
- Any individual moving portable metal soccer goals in schools must be supervised.
- Swinging and hanging from goals is not permitted.
- Injuries and deaths caused by soccer goals have occurred due to the following:
- goals becoming unanchored and unstable
- inappropriate or ineffective installation
- inappropriate use, such as swinging on goal posts or cross bars
As of 31 December 2010 the supply of moveable soccer goals weighing more than 28 kg must comply with Playing field equipment — Soccer Goals Safety Aspects A key requirement of the standard is to ensure that moveable soccer goals have permanent labelling informing of the dangers of improper use or goals installation.
Fore more information on the standard visit: Product Safety
Notification of parents and carers
- Schools must notify parents/carers of the potential risks of rugby league e.g. the dangers of scrums.
- Parents and carers may choose withhold their permission for their child to participate.
- Scrums are not permitted in primary school.
- A teacher must perform a subjective assessment of a student to determine if they have the physique to participate in a scrum. If there is any doubt, the student should not be permitted to play in a scrum.
- All players must wear mouth guards.
- It is recommended that all players wear protective head gear, shoulder pads and chest pads (females).
- All goal posts must be padded
- Further information on rugby education is available at the Resources tab
- The use of starting gun caps is not permitted.
- There are a number of alternative starting devices suitable for use, including:
- air-driven horns (including rechargeable with a pump)
- starting clap board
- electronic starting pistol or electronic beeper with flash
- portable amplifier (PA) with beeper
Aerosol air horns eliminate the chemical hazard from starting caps. However, compressed gases in aerosol cans can expand if shaken and explode when exposed to direct heat — for example, exposure to direct sunlight for extended periods of time during sports events. Manufacturer’s instructions should be understood and followed.
- Licenced starting pistols, which use a metal encased charge, should only be used in schools or at school events under controlled conditions by an accredited, licenced starter.
- An accredited starter is one who
- holds a current firearms licence, and
- has attended and completed an accredited course recognised by Athletics Victoria or Little Athletics Victoria
- The starter must wear hearing protection with a sound level conversion (SLC) 80 rating of not less than 25 dB.
- Bystanders (not competitors) must be kept as least 5 metres away from the starter if not wearing hearing protection.
- Further information see the Noise Management Policy and Procedure or advice contact the OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715.
Trampoline sports must only be allowed under the strict supervision of:
- teachers and other approved adults, who have completed an accredited coaches' course approved by Gymnastics Australia
- at least four trained spotters' guarding each side of the trampoline
Supervisors of trampoline sports must:
- check the trampoline before each use for safety, such as springs, bed, frame and frame pads, and ensure a minimum ceiling height of 5 metres with at least 2.5 metres clear of walls on all sides
- never allow students or any equipment under the trampoline
- check that students are wearing appropriate clothing including socks/gym shoes for safety and hygiene
- only permit students to climb, never jump onto and down, from the trampoline
- teach and use safety measures including:
- the appropriate progression of learning skills
- the risks of performing for long periods or at excessive heights
- the importance of having only 1 performer on the trampoline at any one time
For further information contact Gymnastics .
The delivery of the Physical Education curriculum through timetabled and structured classes.
Any form of sport (interschool or intraschool) within the educational setting which is timetabled into the school week.
Scrums are formed by players who are designated forwards binding together in three rows. The scrum then engages with the opposition team so that the players heads are interlocked with those of the other side's front row.
Note: Scrums occur more often, and are of greater importance, in union than in league. In league, scrums do not occur in primary school and may occur in 13 man aside games in secondary school.
There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to Resources tab.
For further information regarding the delivery of physical education contact Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) .
There are three types of mouthguards:
- individually fitted mouthguard — available from a dentist and is custom made. This mouthguard provides maximum protection.
- semi-adaptable mouthguard — sold over the counter and is adaptable in the mouth after warming
- standard mouthguard — sold ready-made over the counter
Mouthguards should fit properly and have sufficient retention to prevent dislodgement by an impacting force. Mouthguards can be made to allow for missing and erupting teeth, and to fit over orthodontic wires. An ill-fitting mouthguard has the potential to cause injury. A mouthguard that has to be held in place by clenching the teeth is unsatisfactory. Yearly replacement may be needed for younger students to allow for growth and development.
For further information contact Dental Health Services .
For further information contact Basketball .
Explore Consumer Goods (Basketball Rings and Backboards) Safety Standard for information on safety warning requirements regarding basketball rings and backboards.
The occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) contains checklists to assist principals in recording inspection and maintenance of basketball and netball rings.
Example: The Australian Rugby Union TryRugby program introduces new players to the game through a series of age-specific modified rugby games in a controlled environment i.e. no tackling for ages under 6 and 7 years. Each game-style of the Under Six 6 to Under Twelve Tryrugby Kids Pathway has a developmental skills focus which takes into account the chronological age of the child and their capacity for safe and achievable rugby skill acquisition.
For more information see:
- Australian Rugby Union — Kids
- National Safeplay (for players aged 15 years and under)
Reviewed 29 April 2022